What You Can Do for Syrian Refugees
December 1, 2015
The recent sentiment against refugees is shocking. Over half of US Governors have said that Syrian refugees are not welcome in their states. Currently, there are bills trying to restrict refugee resettlement that are progressing through the House and Senate. Now is a crucial time to speak up and raise our collective voices on behalf of suffering families seeking safety from war. Please consider joining us through the work of our partners in the following ways:
1. Read this Statement, "Not Terrorists; Not Tourists: Refugees are Human Beings," from our Disciples and United Church of Christ Leadership
2. Contact Your Elected Officials:
Inform your US Representatives and Senators (1-866-961-4293), and your Governors that you know that refugees already must pass a sufficiently stringent screening process before they are admitted into our country. Please tell them that we cannot allow these families fleeing violence to suffer any longer: we must welcome them now.
3. Stay Involved:
Please do not be silent about your support for refugees. Share these worship resources from Church World Service in your congregation. Learn about additional ways to help from Refugee and Immigration Ministries, CWS, and Global Ministries.
And remember, Jesus was a refugee!
Syrian Refugees Crisis Surrounding
the Middle East and Europe
SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
We continue to pray and lift the thousands of refugees in Europe and the Middle East as the crises worsen and continue to dominate the headlines. More than 267,000 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters have now survived treacherous voyages to European shores in what the United Nations has described as the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
For some of these thousands, their overland journeys take them into Greece, Serbia, and Hungary-countries straining to provide humanitarian support of this scale. As the world calls on European leaders to implement long-term strategies to welcome families from not only Syria, but Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia, we are called on to meet their immediate needs.
Aid and advocacy are now sorely needed, and both require great coordination of efforts. In a letter issued earlier this week to the global member churches, the World Council of Churches writes, "In this critical moment, ecumenical cooperation in the response is especially important, in order to enhance the collective impact of our various activities, to encourage others and to give a common witness of compassion, justice and peace. The nature of this crisis calls for both humanitarian support and advocacy with governments."
Just since last week, our partners at ACT Alliance continued to mobilize humanitarian response to the growing crisis, and Week of Compassion expanded existing efforts, channeling additional resources to member organizations in Greece, Serbia, and Hungary. Their needs are staggering. In Greece, as infrastructure is strained and registration waiting periods continue to increase, families sheltering on open beaches await a harsh cold season.
- Exhausted and overextended aid workers in Serbia rush to collect warm clothes, medicine, food, and diapers to accommodate the heightening influx.
- Workers in Hungary face a mounting need for hygienic supplies, psychosocial support services, and means of providing state-mandated access to education.
- With the lack of a legal path into many countries, all are at imminent risk from smugglers and traffickers.
In the days to come, your Week of Compassion will continue to work with partners to provide food, water, warm clothing, and shelter to the thousands of displaced persons for whom the journey is only beginning. Thank you for your support and partnership, and for putting your Compassion into Action for the thousands of lives impacted by the crisis.
September 4, 2015
The news has been filled this first week of September with chaotic scenes. 3-year old Alyan Kurdi, along with his brother Galip, their mother, and nine other Syrian refugees drowned during an attempt to pass the Aegean Sea in hopes of finding safety (over 2500 others have been lost in recent months attempting similar escape). Outside of the Hungarian capital of Budapest, trains packed with Syrian refugees have been halted at the order of the authorities, while the migrants inside refuse to leave because they know that they cannot survive being returned home.
Since the beginning of 2015, over 100,000 displaced persons from Northern and Middle Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been registered in Hungary alone, but the authorities are unable to handle all the needs of the migrants as the numbers continue to rapidly increase. All countries surrounding the crisis region are feeling the same strain on their resources, and the situation will only continue to become more dire.
For the past four years, the crisis in Syria has been escalating. Unimaginable violence and unrest across the Middle East and Northern Africa has grown to a level that has created one of the greatest humanitarian crises in current memory. Not since the Second World War have we seen such high numbers of refugees and displaced persons desperately seeking safety and refuge in lands not their own.
This week, we have been confronted with a visible image of exactly what is at stake: the lives – many of which have been lost – of men, and women, and small children… all of whom are beloved children of God.
At this moment, the Church is being called to respond. Through Week of Compassion and its partners, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada have been working to provide support and refuge to those in need. Below are a few examples of work that is already underway, as well as continuing opportunities to respond to the needs of those who are living through the crisis.
What we have been doing
Week of Compassion has been working with partners inside the country of Syria, as well as in the surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Serbia, Turkey and Hungary in providing emergency assistance to the million of refugees who are fleeing the conflict. Just in the last month, Week of Compassion has been working with our partners in providing the following emergency aid:
- Water, sanitation, and hygienic items to individuals, especially children and women
- Essential medicines and medical supplies and equipment
- Psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social support for children and their mothers in refugee camps
- Distributing clothes, blankets and other non-food items in refugee camps in preparation for the winter cold season
- Building emergency shelters for the increasing number of refugees
100% of your gifts designated “Syria Humanitarian Crisis” will directly go to help Syrian refugees and those who are internally displaced in the Middle East and in Europe.
2. REFUGEE EMERGENCY HOSPITALITY KITS
You and your congregation can put together essential welcome kits for refugees when they arrive safely in the United States. Click here to view instructions.
3. HELP SPONSOR REFUGEES
Through Church World Service and Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries, congregations within 50 miles of any partner CWS office are urged to Pick 3 for Refugees to serve as a Welcoming Team for newly arriving refugee families. Please contact the CWS office closest to you, or Disciples Refugee & Immigration Sharon Stanley,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 202-957-7826 to help resettle refugee families.